10 Technologies that Have Lowered Car Insurance Costs

Airbags save lives -and- lower insurance premiums.

Airbags save lives -and- lower insurance premiums. (image by hartford.edu)

It seems these days, technology junkies are everywhere. They’re using their smartphones for email, tweets and to manage their car insurance policies. They can even file a claim to their insurer on them. But even if everyone isn’t a tech junkie, most of us appreciate the benefits technology has brought into our lives.

Since our love of technology isn’t simply pigeonholed into mobile, hand-held devices, perhaps it’s only natural that automakers keep raising the bar in car technologies. Regardless of the why or who, there are a number of technologies that have lowered car insurance costs, and some of these even save lives on a daily basis. Let’s look at the ten most significant technologies (in alphabetical order) that are keeping insurance premiums low:

Airbags

While initially criticized by some due to the explosive nature of deployment as well as the harm that could come for smaller drivers and passengers, there is no doubt that airbags used in combination with seat belts save lives.

Newer, advanced airbag systems no longer risk harm to smaller occupants, and they’ve gone way beyond simple single-bag and steering-wheel mounted systems, with side curtain, roof and even knee airbags now offered on automobiles.

Alarms/Anti-Theft Devices/Remote Tracking

The rate of auto theft continues to fall just like every other major crime, and much of the reason for this is the inclusion of car alarms, engine immobilizers and other technologies designed to prevent theft. And some technologies, such as remote tracking, make it easy to locate a car that has been stolen. However, there are downsides to many things, and some technologies have made cars more prone to being stolen.

Backup Cameras/Sensors/Detection Systems

These cameras and systems can alert drivers to hazards behind a car, such as pedestrians or children that are not visible in the car’s mirrors. The most advanced of these systems can also replace the normal rearview mirror, especially if they are accompanied by a blind-spot warning system.

Black Boxes/Event Data Recorders

The most common example of these is probably the Snapshot, offered by Progressive Insurance. These devices plug into the OBD port of cars, and measure everything from acceleration, braking, cornering (the so-called ABCs) and in some cases, even use GPS to track a vehicle’s location.

Blind Spot Sensors/Cameras/Detection Systems

These radar or camera based systems alert drivers to cars in adjacent lanes that are hidden in the driver’s blind spot. Advanced versions will not only warn drivers, but can keep an accident from occurring by not allowing the driver to move into an occupied lane.

Crash Safety Systems

There was a time when no engineering thought was given to how a car would protect its occupants in the event of a crash. We’re happy those days are over. Advances in this area include seat belts, engineered crumple zones to keep metal out of the cabin and even improved bumpers that can stand up to small crashes.

Electronic Stability Control

ESC systems can sense when an extreme steering maneuver is being executed, and automatically apply the brakes to individual wheels to maintain control of the car. While these systems can prevent many crashes, it is possible to exceed the limits of ESC with a speed that is too high for the conditions. While not every car sold in the United States has ECS, Congress has mandated that ESC become a standard feature on all new cars sold in the United States in 2012.

Navigation Systems

While they can still be a distraction for a driver, navigation systems are much better than relying on paper maps that had to be unfolded and refolded. Plus, since there’s less chance of getting lost and no need to stop to ask for directions, they may even help prevent in car arguments.

Traction Control

Traction control systems prevent wheel spin, thereby allowing for maximum traction. These systems come in handy under adverse weather conditions, such as when roads are slick from rain or icy weather.

World Wide Web/Internet

Because insurers no longer have to rely on offering as many brick and mortar presences, the Internet has not only caused policy premiums to fall, but it’s also led to increased competition between insurance companies. Consumers can obtain quotes on car insurance quickly and easily, and even do comparison shopping, right from their home.


About Cecil Helton

Cecil Helton Cecil Helton is a U.S.-based writer and editor with passions for cars, motorcycles, boats, technology and social media. Much of his professional life since 1996 has been web-centric, and he’s written and developed content on a variety of subjects. His work in the houseboat industry received wide acclaim, such as winning the 1999 Cisco Systems Growing with Technology award and being named one of five finalists in the manufacturing sector of the 2000 Computerworld-Smithsonian Awards. As an Air Force brat, he spent much of his childhood in a two-year cycle of moving to a new place, making new friends, establishing a life, and then moving again. Destinations included: Kentucky, Illinois, Texas, the Greek isle of Crete, California and Ohio. Today you’ll find Cecil coping with his 15 year old son’s decision to pursue a motorcycle license at the same time he gets his driver’s license, being active across the web on multiple social media sites, and of course, writing articles and creating content on automotive and car insurance related topics right here at CarInsurance.org.


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